Library Blog Archive

Skype visit with award-winning children's author, Katherine Rundell

Friday, March 9, 2018

This week, Years 5, 6 and 7 were treated to a live Skype “Question and Answer” session with one of King’s Hall’s very favourite children’s authors, Katherine Rundell. There was great excitement as, through the wonders of technology, Katherine joined us in the Woodard Room to chat about her books, the inspiration behind them and her top tips for young aspiring writers. The Year 6 Library Monitor team were splendid and did a wonderful job of putting questions to our guest author.

Katherine explained how, as a child, she was a very keen reader (with eating and acrobatics being her other childhood passions!) She advised our budding writers to read all sorts of fiction, even trying out books that at first sight they are sure they won’t like, as they might discover a gem along the way. She also suggested writing a diary, perhaps in the format of just a single sentence a day, and advised everyone to steal events from our lives to put into our stories, making those events bigger and more extraordinary. Above all, she said that writers are daydreamers: “If you can daydream, you can be a writer.” Lots of us in the audience decided that we were excellent daydreamers so, who knows, perhaps there is a future author within our ranks!

The children were mesmerised by Katherine’s stories of her trip to the Amazon rainforest to research her Costa award-winning book, The Explorer. We heard about her experiences swimming with pink river dolphins, fishing for (and even swimming with) piranhas and hunting tarantulas. We also heard how she spent time with real wolves in preparation for writing The Wolf Wilder, even riding on a dog sled to find out exactly how this would feel.

The inspiration for Katherine’s book Rooftoppers came from a time when she crept through a trap door above the library in her Oxford college, emerging onto the roof and discovering a bottle that had been left there some years before. This led her to wonder, what if someone was living there, undetected? Ultimately, she said every story has a “what if” at its heart. We are all very excited about her next book which will have a circus setting and will be about a heist performed by a group of children.

Finally, Katherine’s tips for King’s Hall writers were as follows:

  • Let yourself write badly. You can always make bad writing good, but no writing will always be no writing.
  • Start thinking, “What if?” and never let anyone tell you that your stories are too unlikely, as real life can be far more extraordinary than anyone would imagine.
  • Editing is very important so don’t be afraid to make changes to your work.
  • Sometimes writing is hard, so be persistent and never give up (Sometimes, when she is struggling with her writing, Katherine ties herself to her chair with a skipping rope to remind herself to keep going!)

Thank you so much, Katherine, for chatting with our pupils; it was a very special morning that we will never forget.

World Book Day festivities inspire the entire school community to get creative!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Last week saw the launch of The Great King's Hall Potato Challenge, a celebration of reading in which every pupil was challenged to create a favourite book character using a potato, some art and craft materials and a generous sprinkling of creativity. As predicted, our eager readers wasted no time in coming up with some fabulously detailed designs for their potato characters. Here they are hard at work...


This week, the practical phase begins and we will start to see these designs taking shape. We can't wait to see all of these brilliant ideas come to life. Mrs Schmidt, Head of Art at King's College, will be judging the competition and we think she will be in for a real treat when she gets to meet our amazing potato characters!

Reading recommendations from Year 7

Monday, February 26, 2018


Reading recommendations from Year 7

Are you stuck for something to read?

Fear not, as our fabulous fiction fans from Year 7 are here with some of their top reading tips.

They were challenged to provide a book review in just three words to give you a flavour of what makes their chosen book extra special!

How many of these books have you already read?

Rooftoppers

by Katherine Rundell

Breathtaking, inspirational, thrilling


The Knife of Never Letting Go

by Patrick Ness

Dystopian, Interesting, Original


The Little House on the Prairie series

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

(also a firm favourite of Mrs Stuckes!)

Truthful, Entertaining, Heartwarming

Geek Girl

by Holly Smale

Funny, Mischievous, Fashionable

I Am Number Four

by Pittacus Lore

Shocking, Exhilarating, Numerical!


Girl Missing

by Sophie McKenzie

Page-turner, Emotional, Exciting

World Book Day 2018 Competition

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Coming soon in the Library…

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

World Book Day 2018 takes place on Thursday 1st March and we have a very special treat in store for our pupils: award-winning children’s author, Katherine Rundell, will be visiting us to talk to Years 5, 6 and 7 about her books and the inspiration behind them, as well as giving our pupils valuable insight into what life as an author is like. In January this year, Katherine was awarded the Costa Children’s Book Prize for her most recent novel, The Explorer. In addition to her work as a novelist, Katherine is also a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She is sure to inspire our budding writers here at King’s Hall!

Katherine will be available to sign pupils’ books on the day and there will, as usual, be a book stall for those pupils to might wish to buy one and have it signed.

Click here to watch a video of Katherine talking about her Costa award-winning book, The Explorer.

We can’t wait to meet her!


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